Thursday, April 29, 2010

Don't forget poetry

This might have been a better blog post for the beginning of the month, as April is National Poetry Month, but Tupac Shakur's book, The Rose That Grew From Concrete didn't get to us at the Southwest Branch until a couple of days ago (it is actually a reissue of a 1999 book). And I am in love with it! Much like how Kurt Cobain had a book out after he died, both books feature musicians writing poetry.

Tupac, through his Prince like words (u for you, 2 for two, etc.), really evokes emotion. I only ever liked a handful of songs by Tupac, but every poem in this volume speaks to me. I recommend checking it out even for those who aren't into rap. A sample for the uninitiated:

When Do I Kiss U
I haven't yet for reasons of your own
But soon I'm sure you'll tire from being alone
u haven't recovered from the pain of the past
So u show me affection behind the wall of glass
But when I do finally kiss u
u will realize at last my heart was true

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

To e-Book or not to e-Book

This is possibly the most controversial question being asked right now in the publishing industry: Should you, as a book lover, begin the foray into the seemingly convenient and relatively inexpensive digital reading world with e-books and e-readers? Or is this new technology all but destroying the publishing world and brick and mortar stores?

In the April 26th issue of The New Yorker, Ken Auletta writes about e-books and questions what the advent of the iPad means for publishers in his column Annals of Communication. Auletta's article, Publish or Perish, discusses the process involved in publishing a book and where each dollar amount from a book sale actually goes. For those who are passionate about books and technology or even for those who simply want to know more about publishing, Auletta's article is a must-read.

An interview with Ken Auletta also aired on this morning on NPR's Fresh Air radio show, hosted by Terry Gross. Audio for the interview will be available today at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Update: A very conscientious follower of this blog asked when Arlington Public Library will begin offering e-books. The answer is: we already do! More and more of you are becoming familiar with our downloadable audiobooks, which is made possible with the OverDrive software (free to download!). There are currently about 200 e-books available through the Arlington Public Library's OverDrive account. Click the link above for more information.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Can't make it the concert? Come to the library!

Missing the Chelsea Handler show tonight? Check out her books at the library instead (and fight less traffic)!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More Reference USA

Learn how to search Reference USA's Business database with this movie developed by the University of Texas at Austin. Check out another video on how to evaluate business competitor's on Reference USA's website.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 helps choose your movies

I am a notoriously moody movie-watcher. I don't go to the theater very often because one day I might be in the mood to see something funny, but the next day I might change my mind because I want to see something with lots of explosions and chase scenes. (Who am I kidding? If it has monkeys or zombies, I'll pay $10 to see it.)

A friend recently introduced me to (pronounced like "genie"), which does for movies what and Last.FM do for music. Simply create a free account, search for movies you've watched and rate them on a scale from Awful to Must See, then click a link called Recommendations for suggestions on movies to watch. This is all based on how you rate each movie and all the tags associated with the movie.

When I log in, after rating quite a few movies, here is the basic info I get. I get a small sampling of suggestions represented by images from the movies (the bigger the image, the more likely I am to enjoy the movie based on my previous movie ratings).

I will also see a box of tags (again, based on ratings of movies in particular categories). The larger and bolder the text, the more movies I have rated positively within those categories.

So far, the suggestions I have received either look like movies I will enjoy or have actually been recommended to me by friends and family members. It's not only a lot of fun to find recommendations, it's also really fun to look up a movie to rate, only to come across another movie you had forgotten about and have really fond memories of.

If you are an avid movie-watcher or just want to learn about movies you've hadn't heard of before that you've been missing, I highly recommend using Jinni. Afterward, it wouldn't hurt to check our online catalog to see if some of the movie recommendations are available for checkout.

This entry is cross-posted at Library Ninja.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Watching Gideon

I recently finished the most amazing book: Watching Gideon. Set in the 1950s, Gideon is a 16 year old that doesn't have the ability to speak, and the only person that has ever bothered trying to understand him is his father, Jubal. He was born with a "lazy tongue." His mother even left them because she was so disgusted at her son's condition.

This novel begs the question: what about sign language? I can imagine that some small towns wouldn't even think of that for someone that wasn't deaf, but could not communicate. This book even made me do some research on "lazy tongue". In today's world it is not a diagnosis: if there is a strength problem the diagnosis is dysarthria, or if it is coordination, apraxia is the condition. In any case both conditions to be "cured" involve years of speech therapy. What is amazing is that Gideon is able to make himself understood to his father, and later in the novel to Abilene Breedlove, a woman from the wrong side of the tracks that hooks herself up with Jubal. They travel with Gideon from Mississippi to Utah to strike it rich in uranium. From the very beginning Gideon does not trust Abilene, but its not just because she's going after his father; she's also stirring up things inside of him that he has never felt before.

When they get to Edom, Abilene tries to keep on the straight and narrow but it isn't very long before Jack Savage, her handsome boss, works to get rid of Jubal--permanently. This was the kind of book that I could not put down until I was done. The author, Stephen H. Foreman, wrote for TV during the 1970s and 80s and has taught writing at various universities. I hope that he continues to write more books because this one was worth at least as much as Jubal's uranium claim.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Take me out to the ballgame

Baseball season is finally here! The Rangers had a hit or miss week. Hopefully, some of you are lucky enough to have tickets. I don't, but luckily I have other ways to get myself geared up for America's favorite pastime.

Check out these great baseball titles!

100 Baseball Icons